What You Need to Know About the AP World History: Modern Exam

The AP World History: Modern exam consists of both multiple-choice and essay questions. The multiple-choice portion is worth 40 percent of the total exam grade, whereas the three essays together count equally for the other 60 percent. Your score on the multiple-choice section is based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no "guessing penalty." No points will be deducted for incorrect answers; unanswered questions will be graded as incorrect answers.

Format of the Exam

  Question Type (# of questions) Exam Weighting Time Allotted
Section I Part A: Multiple Choice (55 questions) 40% 55 minutes
Part B: Short Answer (3 questions)

Question 1: Secondary source(s)
Question 2: Primary source
Students select one:
Question 3: No stimulus
Question 4: No stimulus
20% 40 minutes
Section II Question 1: Document-based 25% 60 minutes (includes 15-minute reading period)
Students select one:
Question 2: Long essay
Question 3: Long essay
Question 4: Long essay
15% 40 minutes

The following table summarizes the format of the AP World History: Modern exam.

Multiple-Choice Questions

This section consists of 55 questions. Each question has four possible answers. The questions are arranged in sets of two to four questions per set. Each set begins with a written or visual stimulus. It is recommended that you use 55 minutes of the total 95 minutes you are given for Section I of the exam.

The College Board annually publishes material on the breakdown of questions on the multiple-choice test. However, at press time it was unknown what that breakdown would be.

For DBQs, group your information and then analyze all the details. Find what will actually be useful for your essay. Be clear, concise, and to the point.

—AP student

Short-Answer Questions

The AP exam contains four short-answer questions: you will answer questions 1 and 2, and then choose between questions 3 and 4. Each question will have Parts A and B, and some questions will also contain a Part C. All questions, regardless of the number of parts, are worth the same number of points. At least two of the questions will contain historical texts, maps, drawings, photos, charts, or some other historical item that you must interpret and evaluate. It is recommended that you use 40 minutes of the 95 total minutes you are given for Section I to work on your responses to the short-answer questions.

Essay Questions

During the remaining 100 minutes of the test you will be asked to write two essays: a document-based question (DBQ) and a long-essay question. The essays will be based on the broad themes that form the background of the AP World History: Modern course. According to the College Board description of the AP World History: Modern course, these themes include:

- Human-environmental interaction

- Disease and its effects on population

- Migration

- Settlement patterns

- Technology

- Cultural development and interaction

- Religions, belief systems, and philosophies

- The arts and architecture

- State-building, expansion, and conflict

- Political structures and forms of government

- Empires

- Nations and nationalism

- Revolts and revolutions

- Regional, transregional, and global organizations and structures

- Creation, growth, and interaction of economic systems

- Agriculture and pastoralism

- Trade and commerce

- Labor systems

- Industrialization

- Capitalism and socialism

- Development and change of social structures

- Gender roles

- Family and kinship relations

- Race and ethnicity

- Social and economic class structures

- Technology and innovation

Also essential to success on the essays is the ability to visualize global patterns and the reactions of societies to global processes. The ability to interpret the context of a document, as well as to analyze point of view, is necessary to compose a satisfactory response to the DBQ.

For further information on the multiple-choice and essay questions, refer to Step 3 of this manual.

Taking the Exam

When you arrive at the exam site, you should have brought the following:

- Several pencils for the multiple-choice questions.

- Several black or blue pens for the essays.

- A traditional, not a smart, watch. Silence any alarms that would go off during the exam period.

- Tissues.

- Your school code.

- Your driver's license and Social Security number.

Leave the following items at home:

- A cell phone, beeper, PDA, walkie-talkie, or calculator.

- Books, a dictionary, study notes, flash cards, highlighters, correction fluid, a ruler, or any other office supplies.

- Portable music of any kind; no MP3 players, iPods, or CD players are allowed.

Other recommendations:

- Don't study the night before. Arrive at the exam rested.

- Wear comfortable clothing. It's a good idea to layer your clothing so that you are prepared for a variety of temperatures in the exam room.

- Eat a light breakfast and a light lunch on the day of the exam.

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